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Report:  Trust Conference-Thomson Reuters Foundation, London.

 

Flagship annual event & a world-leading human rights forum November 13th and 14th 2019.

Day One:

Towards more Inclusive Economies: Creating a fairer economic system for those left behind.

Main points:

  • A new framework for policy-making constructed by the richest! 26 of the richest people own 50% of wealth in the world. 1% of the economy is within Ethiopia trying to feed millions.

Yet 71% of CEOs are being challenged to fix society as well as grow their business.  This is a new trend.  Not just focus on growing your own business but put the focus on fixing society with the wealth you have.  Re-focus the business mind. e.g., many big corporates in the USA, despite Trump leading USA out of the Paris agreement, decided to cut down carbon emissions on the same line as the Paris agreement. A new world is emerging.

  • Oprey has stated ‘The time is up’  The Legal Defense fund is challenging the corporates:  Nike is being forced and has acted to no longer drop or not pay pregnant or parenting athletes
  • Gender equality is fundamental to creating a fairer economy. Women shoulder 75% of unsupported economy in the world. 90% of world economy penalizes or blocks women’s equality of pay. 85% of women suffer sexual harassment at work. Gender equity central to economic reform.
  • What does it take to create an inclusive economy? We do not need to have profit as a purpose – the main purpose is to solve the problems of the people in the planet – need to trust the opinions of all – support the customers who are changing the planet for the better – we are looking for eco change – an economy for change – driven by a moral base.
  • Capitalism is broken. Capitalism has led the world into a loss of dignity and inequality. The challenge is to capitalize on a free enterprise and equal opportunity. Meritocracy needs to be challenged. Future generations have to be considered. Nourish entrepreneurship. Create new assets and new jobs. We need to balance corporate assets with balance sheets which include the social and caring capitol – no avoidance of tax, no redirected profit to off-shore holdings – possibility of raising the wealth tax. Some felt this would not work.  Better become much more radical about tax. Tax wealth and not work at every level of income. Flexibility in the labour market.
  • Reality of the Globe: 20 million displaced by global change, pools of lakes forming in the ice cover of Greenland 429,000 gallons of water being created per minute, where is it flowing? The melt is accelerating. Need accurate data analysis of what is happening to the globe. What is the effect on the Pacific Islands?  Some have disappeared and all island populations displaced already. Other islands’ women are planting mangrove swamps to take up the water before they are immersed. One foot of mud can come into a hut whenever there is a storm. Polar bears are moving towards the town looking for food. There are no seals left in these regions.  They do not survive, there is no food left for them. In Bolivia the water is receding from all of the lakes. Salinification is settling in. There are no fish and little water bringing about terrible malnourishment especially for the children and especially in The Niger.  HT is on the increase in all of these deprived areas of the globe.

Animals are also being displaced. There is a massive decline in penguins, sardines, cormorants – they lack the food they need.  Mexico city has trouble with clean water, the lakes are drying up, San Francisco has a decimated landscape. So much more to tell…………………

  • Change makers: 1. Almad Nowaz (Pakistan): Survived ISIS school massacre and is now working to empower communities, in danger, to continue to send their children to school.  The terrorists such as ISIS shall not win. 2. Nepal: Women rising to challenge brutal gangs who perform gang rape against women. Knowing Your Rights movement to develop law in India to bring equality to women. 3. Lisa Christine: Humanitarian Photographer: Celebrating Diversity in Unity. Incredibly moving photography of brick kilns and child labour, stone cracking, child fishing labour, slate and stone carrying, goldmines deep in the ground, soaking wet, heavy stones being carried to above the ground, restaurants brothels in Nepal. 4. ACT NOW: Aged 7 years a girl saw a bird dead and filled with plastic.  She planted her first tree at 12 year when her NGO was born Green hope Foundation. It is to empower children to become aware, be included as a global shaper in the eco planet change.  She saw a way to use the arts as a means to educate. The dream is to make the invisible visible. She works with thousands of children who have had no education.  The arts draw these children into the change.
  • Notice the SDG 8.7 to rid the world of HT by 2030. Confront the supply chain. Grow equitable and inclusive economies.
  • TUC Sharon Burrow. Business and Human Rights resonance centre. Need to enforce mandatory due diligence for all companies to ensure Human Rights for children. Empowerment of the workers in the workplace is vital.
  • Problem with HT and the tourist industry. Nearly 80% of the work in hotels is outsourced to agencies whom the Hotel world has little control of because of poor employment law.  Who is following the trail of enslavement along the track of supply? The risk areas are of course in labour trafficking and sexual exploitation.  The original source of the food supply often cannot even be traced. Where does it really come from?  Sheets and linen, where does the cotton come from?
  • A registry has been set up – 4 years ago. UK has it, USA have it – so what? Out of 16,000 companies, 10,000 have a compliance statement. 23% comply totally. 77% have never complied or have only complied with minimum compliance.  Sanctions need to be applied by governments but very few implement the law of compliance. Workshops with outsourced companies are slipping through the net with no compliance implemented at all. The Stop Slavery Tool Kit is a blue print against this practice.  Great need for awareness and training of employers.  There needs to be a hospitality protocol made and understood by all. There is a massive problem to get

legal impunity.  Legal systems are distorted and supersede the law towards the greedy. The lack of legal aid  lawyers in a country leads to abuse. It should not be that there is monetary remuneration for illegal activity – criminal activity – linked with corruption and eco non-compliance.

  • The governments do not need to be so afraid of business. The governments need to be taken to account for their lack of response to this crime (Phil Bloom)
  • Governments are colluding with the criminals
  • They are too intent on money-making
  • There needs to be a new social contract and appropriate sanctions which make the contract real
  • The world needs a new model of human rights and business and this should be part of law globally
  • This needs to be especially implemented by the tech companies.

Blake Howard

  • Global over-fishing with little inspection. Boats can arrive into a harbor with over 1000 caskets of black market squid and shark, hugely lucrative for the Chinese market. CPF are using data analysis and qualitative methodology to follow up the patterns and aware that they need to follow a much deeper investigation.
  • There needs to be a new social contract confirmed by the law regarding all of this black market economy. There is a feeling that the law has collapsed. Transnational agreements are the only way forward.
  • Human rights lawyers say that there is a constant pressure on states to keep wages lower, even paying minimum wage can be breeching fundamental human rights.
  • No regulation in the EU for imported garments

Day 2:

Civil Liberties Under Attack: Protecting Privacy and Freedom of Expression

  • Huge parts of the world are no longer safe for journalists.  We no longer have real news. 75% of news is fake news in the UK
  • Where is privacy any longer?  Body recognition is now being accessed even from the back and by our gait.  Everyday each person gives away 2.5 quintillion bytes or pieces of information which recognize us and our identity
  • How do we protect democracy in this digital era? When does propaganda turn into fake? Where are the ethics?
  • Twitter is to abolish all advertising  in November 2019
  • Data has become the world’s most valuable commodity
  • Speak to Kevin Bayles at Nottingham University, UK. Digital rights are the new frontier for human rights.
  • Media Freedom activist in N Korea was beaten, sprayed with water, isolated. His father paid the police to release him. He went to Beijing saw the internet and realized the national lie of N Korea. He spoke out at this conference after weeks of tears,
  • realizing that his total life was a lie and lived in fear.  He now wants to reveal this lie even though it might cost him his life.
  • Reuters journalists motto: Without fear or favour.
  • Their question is: Are we in a post-FACT society? According to Stephen Adler Editor –In-Chief Reuters: We are not. Facts are important. We have to search for the truth, the facts. We crave for the facts. How do you tell the truth when the Truth no longer matters? He said….  We therefore not only need to ‘do’ our work but ’show’ our work, be transparent and honest. Trump calls journalists the ‘Enemy of the State’.  Editor did call Trump a liar but only once, when Trump kept declaring that Obama had not been born in the USA. Reporting is a great risk.
  • Journalism is better than ever. Journalists are more connected, it is a digital age. However often a country is polarized by the information, false and true. The real world is not twitter – this is now considered to be the rough neighborhood of journalism. This can be argued but a valid opinion.
  • The whole of the world now needs training in media literacy – How do you understand PRIMARY, SECONDARY and TERTIARY TRUTH?  Only with training can people now pick up and learn to use better judgment of the sources which they read. We need to get to the facts and correct anything not true.  We need to be trustworthy and transparent and to work with a much better educated media, savvy public.
  • There is now a great desire for truth.  Whose responsibility is it to protect children and young people for untruths and misconceptions of the truth?  Is it schools? Or much higher up —- filters — to protect them
  • Education needs to train ‘’smart consumers’’.  They need to be trained in the difference between fact and fiction
  • Media freedom has been gradually deteriorating in the last three years.

Safety and Journalists

Panel of family member of journalists or journalists who had been assassinated or taken as hostages over the last 5 years.

  • Outside publicity is raising awareness of the horrific treatment of journalists speaking out for the truth in regions led by corrupt dictators or at war.
  • Together is the only way, never raise your voice alone, you will not be heard or you will be crushed.  Stay with others to raise the voice and call for public enquiries to expose the crimes committed.
  • A scarf can be wrapped around the wound to dull the pain while justice is being sought after each day.
  • Filipina hostage spoke of the same and the need for trust in the human rights lawyers, international lawyers. The demand is for accountability from the platform.
  • Top business wants to keep making money.  Journalists, who expose their greed and corruption, become the enemy.
  • Arrested in Iran another journalist spoke of years of not knowing how strong the united efforts were to free him. Trust and hope are the amour for survival in such an ordeal.
  • Leader of TV8 in Moldova. Her partner is imprisoned with a fake accusation. The TV8 is exposing the corruption of the country and have become an enemy of the state.  The director was filmed secretly and her private life with her partner exposed on social media.  The lowest forms of hate used to close down the channel.  No money left and no chance for survival.  The station has stayed open through donations from all over the world.  The truth was never stopped.
  • Journalists at risk need to build communities around them.
  • The world is looking closely today at truth and transparency. ‘’Democracy dies in Darkness’’

The New Forms of Human Rights.

  • Algorhythms assess all my information. – all the time – no privacy left. A dentist knows if I am a good credit risk. No interaction with a human face. This assessment for decision making is disempowering – we need to speak out for collective rights.
  • Public engagement needs to take place today re the force and power given to others as a result of algorhythms
  • Data protection is fundamental to human rights
  • We need to have collective rights as well as individual rights
  • Are we already in a cyber-warfare where policy- making is data driven.
  • What about the flat cheque –  free advertising on FB given to politicians who have a free reach. Why? Rewards are given for lies and fake adverts.

Need to study Spatial and Visual culture to see beyond the image. (Eyal Weizman)

This conference was also valuable for the contacts made, doors opened and the many conversations taking place throughout the two days, which have had an impact for life. The USA sent many Reuters journalists, data analysts and economists who were open to be challenged and to challenge.  We had many conversations on cyber-trafficking and the summary of these was that it is still foxing most of the experts and especially how to tackle crime taking place in the thousands of private chat rooms where smugglers and traffickers ply their trade.  There were school girls there who had been sponsored by their school to become more empowered for life. We chatted with Indians, Nepalese, Italians, Turks, Africans, people from nearly all over the world. I met a research agro-tourism analyst from Albania, we are having lunch together back here in Tirana tomorrow, Monday 18 Nov. 2019! You could not leave such a conference without feeling that your mind was needing the space to de-clutter and sift through so many new ideas and challenges to the known and unknown ideas which will frame the new consciousness for tomorrow.   Imelda Poole IBVM – RENATE